(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

GREEK EDUCATION                          9

that some of their number might bring a curse on all the members
of the tribe, after the manner of Achan, must have compelled
the elders to undertake the instruction of the youth in safe lines
of conduct at a very early time. And there are non-educational
features of the rites which readily acquire educational value.
Flagellation, for example, had in the first instance no more ethical
significance than the hair-oftering of Semitic tribes. But fierce
warlike people soon saw in it a test of endurance for the neophyte,
and probably intensified the seriousness of the ordeal on that
account. Further, when, under settled conditions of life, some
of the primitive fears wane and the growth of culture begins to
make the ancient customs somewhat ridiculous, the rites continue
to be practised, but with changed emphasis. The tendency is
then to enlarge the meaningful moral instruction which has a
permanent value to counterbalance the meaningless ritual which
custom prescribes. In this is to be found the origin of the moral
instruction of the son by the father which appears in narrow
form among the Egyptians and the Jews, and in more com-
prehensive form among the Homeric Greeks,

The general character of this latest phase of pubertal education
can be best illustrated by one or two examples from the customs
of present-day savages. Among the Gulf Papuans, we are told,
" the course of instruction in the men's house forms one long
training in tribal custom* The old man who resides with the
novices as instructor teaches them the complicated system of
taboo : the season when certain kinds of fish may not be eaten,
or when certain foods are reserved for future feasts, Their
guardian gives them all kinds of advice respecting their duty to
their tribe. The tribal enemies must be the enemies of each
individual initiate.* In selecting a wife, the tribal interests must
be predominant; she must be a mother of healthy children;
should she prove to be barren, all obligation of husband to wife
ceases. Whatever serves the highest interests of the tribe is
justifiable,*1 ** * You no steal,* the boys of an island in the
same region are told, * you no take anything without leave;
if you see a fish*$pear and take it without leave, suppose you
break it and have not one of your own—how you pay man ? * . *
You no play with boy and girl now; you a man now and no boy*
You no play with small play-canoe or spear; that all finish now.
You no marry your cousin, sh« all same as sister. If two boys